Environment & Climate Change, News

Over 150 Companies Commit to Set Ambitious Science-Based Emissions Reduction Targets

UN Global Compact Network Australia | May 4, 2016

Milestone reached ahead of Climate Action 2016 Summit in Washington, DC, shows growing corporate support for ambitious climate action

On the eve of the Climate Action Summit in Washington, DC the Science Based Targets (SBTs) initiative announced that 156 companies have committed to set emissions reduction targets in-line with the global effort to keep warming well below 2°C. These commitments form the foundation of a credible corporate climate action strategy as the world transitions to the low-carbon economy.

The companies participating in the initiative are headquartered in 27 countries around the world, 77 in Europe, 34 in the Asia Pacific region, 25 in the United States and 9 in Canada. They represent a wide variety of industries, from carbon-intensive industrial sectors to consumer-facing industries that include household brands. GCNA members who have already committed to the initiative include Bank Australia, IKEA, Konica Minolta, Nestle and Westpac.

A complete list of companies in the Science Based Targets initiative is available at www.sciencebasedtargets.org/companies-taking-action/.

Recent international developments have focused on the need for companies to reduce their carbon footprint. Since COP21 in Paris last December, forty-two companies have joined the SBTs initiative. Domestically, many investors are leaning towards green initiatives, and are taking a step back from carbon-heavy projects. Companies are also taking note of the business case for renewable energy in Australia.

Of the over 150 companies signed on to the initiative to date, 13 have already had their emissions reductions targets reviewed and approved by the experts at the SBTs initiative. This means the targets are aligned with the decarbonisation necessary to limit warming to below 2°C and meet other best-practice criteria defined by the initiative. Combined, these 13 companies will reduce their emissions from operations by 874 million tonnes CO2 over the lifetime of the targets, the equivalent of closing over 250 coal-fired power plants for a year. These companies have also made ambitious commitments to reduce emissions throughout their value chains.

Forty-five companies have targets currently under review, and the remaining companies are in the process of developing targets.

“The enthusiasm companies have shown to setting ambitious climate targets is very encouraging,” says Cynthia Cummis from WRI, one of the four organisations that make up the Science Based Targets initiative. “Our technical reviewers cannot keep up with the number of targets being submitted. This is a great problem to have and a clear indication that the Paris Agreement was a turning point for climate action.”

Galya Tsonkova, Environment Manager for Coca-Cola HBC, explains that “In the past, companies would set targets without the necessary information or a solid point of reference. They would just pick a round figure and aim for cuts of 20, 30, 40 percent, with no further justification, other than generic aspirations. Now, we have a target that is approved by external, credible experts, verified through relevant scientific methodology. That makes a big difference, both for external stakeholders, as well as to our management.”

About the Science Based Targets initiative

The Science Based Targets initiative is a partnership between CDP, UN Global Compact, WRI and WWF. The initiative provides technical resources to help companies set science-based emissions targets, and recognises companies that commit to this important action. For more information, visit www.sciencebasedtargets.org or get in touch.

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UN Global Compact Network Australia